It seems that every time you open a magazine or turn on the television there is another diet fad, or myth being put forth to the public. Unfortunately, most of us rely on these myths to find real results with our own diet and emphasis on eating right. In return, this causes many people to get conflicting information about food and dieting. I’ve investigated common diet myths and will share with you the shocking results.
Myth: Late night snacking makes you gain weight
Truth: Late night snacking can lead to weight gain, but it’s not due to the time on the clock. The trouble is, snacking after dinner can lead you to eat more calories than your body needs in a day, especially if you’re having high-calorie snack foods and sweetened beverages. If you usually get hungry late at night, try eating dinner a little later. If you’re still hungry, sip on water with a squeeze of lemon, or go for small portions of healthy choices like whole grain cereal with milk, a piece of fruit, or plain air-popped popcorn.
Myth: Cutting gluten out of your diet will be healthier
Truth: False! A gluten-free diet is only healthy for people with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, but it’s not necessary for everyone else. Gluten is a type of protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye, and any foods made with these grains. Unless you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, or you are allergic to one of these grains, you don’t need to avoid them. Whether the grain you choose is gluten-free (such as corn, rice, millet or quinoa) or not, enjoying more whole grains is a healthy choice. For good health, make at least half of your grain choices whole grain each day.
Myth: There is no difference between multi-grain and whole grain
Truth: False! Multi-grain isn’t always whole grain. Multi-grain products include different grains, but they may not be whole. You’ll get the greatest health benefits from eating whole grains. To make sure a food is made with whole grains, look on the food label’s ingredient list for the words “whole grain” in front of each grain name. Another way to ensure its whole grain is to look at the fiber content. Typically, if one serving of the food has at least 3 grams of fiber it’s whole grain.
Myth: Fruit is high in sugar
Truth: Fruit is a healthy choice. It’s true that fruit has naturally occurring sugar, but it is also chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber that are important for good health. Choosing more vegetables and fruit, naturally sweetened by Mother Nature, can help you maintain your weight and reduce your risk of developing chronic disease.
Myth: Eating too much sugar will give you diabetes
Truth: You will not get diabetes from eating sugar. However, it is wise to limit your daily sugar intake. Foods that are high in sugar, such as cookies, candies and soft drinks, are often low in nutrients and high in calories. Diets with too many calories can lead to weight gain, and being overweight or obese is one of the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes in America.
All in all, it’s important to make sure you are obtaining your diet and health information from credible sources and not tabloid magazines or anonymous websites. I hope this gives you some insight and will allow you to bust a myth when you see it next!
Laurie Taunton MS R.D.
Chicken Sausage and Pepper Skewers
- 1 cup couscous
- 2 bell peppers (red and yellow), cut into chunks
- 1 (12-ounce) package chicken sausage (preferably garlic-flavored), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large red onion, cut into chunks
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 4 scallions, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Soak eight 8-inch skewers in water, at least 15 minutes. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Prepare the couscous as the label directs.
Meanwhile, toss the bell peppers, sausage, onion and tomatoes in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Thread onto the skewers, alternating the sausage and vegetables. Grill, turning, until the vegetables are slightly softened and the sausage begins to brown, 6 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, puree the parsley, cilantro and scallions in a blender with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the vinegar and 2 tablespoons water. Season with salt and pepper. Brush the skewers with some of the pesto and continue to cook, turning, until the tomatoes are tender and the sausage is charred, 6 to 7 more minutes.
Toss the couscous with half of the remaining pesto and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the skewers and the remaining pesto, for dipping.
Adapted from Food Network 2012.